Disease and pest free rose gardens

Ginger syllabub, own root rose

When it comes to planting roses in your garden, there are many choices to consider.

Color, whether you want shrub, tea, climbing, how about fragrance, of course you want pest free and disease resistance, weather endurance, etc.

Have you heard of own root roses? This article will teach you how to buy and grow own root roses, which will answer many of your objectives when deciding which roses to plant in your garden.

Reasons to buy own root roses:

1. Own root roses are propagated by doing stem cuttings and rooting from a single known parent plant. The reason behind this is to know that the parent plant is virus-free. Many roses grown from rootstock in the US are infected with rose mozaic virus, so the baby rose plant will continue to carry the virus. Heirloom Roses certifies their roses as virus free.

2. Own root roses are more winter hardy in colder climates. Cold winters will often kill a rose right to the ground, but if the roots are alive, the rose will come back true to its original parent.

3. Desuckering: Own root roses never have to be desuckered. (That's removing unwanted canes that pop up from the grafting knot.) Have you ever had pink roses die back in the winter and bloom again the next year, but they are red? This is an example of planting grafted roses, as opposed to own root roses.
How to tell the difference between grafted roses and own root roses in your local nursery?

a. Look for the grafting knot, the big clump next to the soil. Own root roses do not have this knot.

b. Own root roses are usually smaller, maybe one or two canes, when you first plant them. They take 2-5 years to mature, but the wait is worth it.

Ginger Syllabub climbing rose pest and disease free

Planting and fertilizing:

a. Dig the hole where your rose will be planted about 1 and a half times as long as the root system is long and as wide. Mix in a LITTLE horse or cow manure with the soil, if you have it.
b. Leave a small mound of soil in the center of the hole to support the crown of the rose. Add a small amount of bone meal to the soil.
c. Plant the own root rose so that the top of the root crown is level with the ground in zones 5 and 6, 0 to -20 degrees. (Check your hardiness zone map.)
d. Mound up the soil around the crown until the root system takes hold, then after a few weeks, create a little trough for watering around the rose planting.
e. Use a liquid fertilizer at half strength to start with new plants or a fish fertilizer at full strength in the early spring and again after the first blooms have finished in July, usually. Do not add any fertilizer after August so that the plant can harden off for the winter.

Pests, aphids and disease free:

Own Root roses are naturally pest and disease free, as they are grown from their own stock, a single parent plant. You can also plant ground borders of alyssum under your roses to control rose aphids naturally.

When to prune:

There are differing opinions as to when to prune own root roses, fall or early spring, Heirloom Roses says at both times. In the fall, clear out any dead canes, which might be whipped by winter winds. Winds can also dry out the roots. In the spring, shape the rose as to each variety: shrub, moss, tea rose, climbing, etc. and also taking into consideration the size of your garden. Prune to new growth, cut off the brown and dead parts of the canes. For climbers, you'll want to reduce the amount of canes to three or four, so there will be room for expanded new growth along the canes. Plant a clematis to grow up through your climbing roses for extra eye appeal in the summer rose garden.

climbing rose & clematis

* Pest and disease free own root roses are usually sold in 6 inch pots.
Use epsom salts for magnesium application, which promotes stronger, sturdier stems, richer green foliage and deeper, richer colors in roses.